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LONDON - The relationship between Britain's new prime minister, Gordon Brown, and US President George Bush is likely to be "close but candid", a former British ambassador to Washington said yesterday.
Christopher Meyer, who in a book two years ago was highly critical of ex-premier Tony Blair's close personal and political relationship with Bush, said he expected Brown to return to a more "natural pattern" of Anglo-American ties.
He had been encouraged to hear Brown stressing "British interests" in relations with Washington and believed that Brown, unlike Blair, would not indulge in what he called the "unconditional hugging" of the US president.
"I think what all this portends is a close relationship, but it is going to be genuinely candid," Meyer told the BBC in an interview.
He drew a parallel between Brown's approach and that of former British leader Margaret Thatcher, whose close relations with late ex-president Ronald Reagan had not stopped her from airing disagreements.
"One of the things that's very encouraging is to hear a British prime minister talk about the national interest in a way that you didn't hear so much when Tony Blair was prime minister.
"I think Tony Blair was unusual among post-war British prime ministers, in not only hugging close but hugging unconditionally."
Meyer is now head of Britain's Press Complaints Commission watchdog.
"I don't think Gordon Brown is going to be doing any hugging unconditionally and if he does behave in that way it will be fully in the mainstream of most British prime ministers since 1945 or indeed since Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt.
"It's more going back to a natural pattern in the relationship between Britain and America." - Sapa-DPA